Camping the Finger Lakes Region

Back-Achers Campsites on Seneca Lake. Photo by Cristina Caccavo.
By Gabrielle L. Wheeler

Call me Katydid and my daughter Tulip because we are just freshly back from Girl Scout Camp. I love to camp and Sandra (aka Tulip) had a great time too. The Finger Lakes Region offers tons of camping options- from RVing to tent camping to “glamping” – so one need not be a Scout to enjoy nature. And since it is only mid-summer, there is still plenty of time yet this season to try to get out there.

NYS Parks

The parks system operated by NYS Parks offers over 8500 campsites across the state. Sites range from a flat spot for pitching a tent to hook-ups for an RV, and offer communal bathrooms, fire pits, and picnic tables at most spots. Many of our parks also offer either rustic cabins with no water or electricity, or basic cabins which do have those things. Check out the webpage for more information on staying at one of our great NYS parks:

The author's daughter on a family camping trip. Photo by Gabrielle L. Wheeler

Campgrounds and RV Parks

Dotted across the region are a series of campgrounds and RV parks, most privately owned, that offer many of the above camping options, but also have recreation halls, swimming pools, and playgrounds for children. Some offer themed weekends and organized activities or are situation near popular destinations or events. Cheerful Valley Campground in Phelps has free vintage fire truck rides for campers, while Bristol Woodlands Campground in Canandaigua is located near Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures Park for easy day-time access. Swimmers and that those that like to fish will enjoy Clute Memorial Park and Campground which is located just across from Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen.

For more information about Cheerful Valley Campground, visit For more information regarding Bristol Woodlands Campground, visit For more information on Clute Memorial Park and Campground, visit For more information on Back-Achers Campsites, visit


Tent camping or even basic cabins not your thing? Never fear, “glamping,” in which an authentic camping experience is being had in a luxurious space, is now hitting the Finger Lakes Region. The Quiet Place offers cabins and rentals on private properties for a luxury camping get-away. Cottage or cabin options include things like hot tubs, gas or wood fireplaces, and even gourmet kitchens. Many of the properties are situated near popular destinations and are located on or near the Finger Lakes wine trails. For more information visit

After such a fun experience staying with Tulip in a cabin for a few days, I am wondering if there isn’t some more camping at one of these great destinations in our stars before the summer is through.

To see a listing of more campsites in the Finger Lakes Region, pick up a print copy of Life in the Finger Lakes at your local newsstand and look at the marketplace advertising section.

Gabrielle Wheeler is a freelance writer from the heart of the Finger Lakes Region. She also works as a patient navigator/interpreter in a local health center and vlogs about nature with her kids on their YouTube channel, a "Place For Little Sprouts to Grow. "

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